Thursday, January 18, 2007
Pulling the Past Out of the Bog
The sequence starts with a big modern Japanese bulldozer getting ready to pull out the tank.
In this photo the tank begins to emerge from the ooze. It's green (that's weird--the tanks at the beginning of the war were grey and either sand colored or camouflaged by the end of the war) but there's a clear Wehrmacht cross on the turret and a German type low cupola on top of the turret. Hmmm?
Here the tank is half exposed, but I'm having trouble identifying it. The back deck looks like no German tank I know and the shape of the turret is wrong. Most German medium tanks had a storage box at the back. No box here. No top hatch either
Here it is out of the mud and partially cleaned off. At first I'm thinking Pkw-38, the tank the Germans stole from the Czechs in the late 30s, but the front is a smooth slope, and the sides are sloped too. There's no big co-axial machines gun on the turret. Not a Pkw-38. The front fenders are missing.
More detail emerges. The open hatch on the front where the driver sat and the round enclosure for the machine gun in front are clearly Soviet tank design features. The details around the gun on the turret are classically Soviet. This is a T-34 of some sort. Must have been captured, modified and used by the Krauts.
The happy villagers have retrieved a piece of history from the near-by lake, a Soviet T-34 with German crosses on it. Quite a find.
More facts. More fact.
How did they know it was there? Was someone out w/ one of those hand held metal detectors you see being used in Parks?
Are you sure it wasn't painted gray and the green was 60 years of accumulated bog slime?
I founfd a few more pix @ the following website:www.pzg.biz/stories_german-panzer.htm.
Be forewarned, this website states it is "Your Third Reich HQ." Maybe the website's publisher is a history buff.
The story does state the tank was a captured Soviet one.
The cross is fairly typical of early-war armor decoration. It was only later that the cross was reduced to a white outline to reduce its usefulness as a targeting aid.
During the initial invasion of the USSR, many tanks were captured and, shall we say, galvanized by the Germans. (Note that the same is true of French and Czech armor.) They were usually used in rear areas to reduce the possibility of fratricide.